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ENG140Y1 Lecture Notes - Irony, Tragicomedy

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Nick Mount

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Waiting for Godot
Lack of pretense allowed audience to readily relate to work
Laughter/tears dissolve pretense, have that in common, leave us open
Tragicomedy because doesn’t end badly (death) or well (marriage)
Tragedy with upper class characters, harder fall
Comedy with lower class
Play about existence with two bums as main characters
Tragedy supposed to be about plot/action
Unity of action, time and place (max one day, same place, realistic plot)
Godot about inaction, waiting for action to happen
No dramatic irony, don’t know what comes next (for dramatic irony, audience needs to know what will
Beckett changed to writing in French, freed from English literary tradition
Godot as God? Or like the lighthouse, can put own meaning into it
Any belief system that promises an answer
More important is that they are waiting
Action helps us to ignore time, but when you are waiting you must confront time
WWII in fabric of play
Characters have to think for themselves/make own decision, Godot never shows up to give answers
Don’t realize they can determine their own path, so just wait
Humans not controlling time, just enduring it
Searching for reason to act (meaning for such actions)
Procrastinating or requiring the assistance of others
Waiting for a distraction because they are bored
Nothing to do but pass the time, no reason to spring into action. Everything is a joke
Purpose in life is to wait for purpose, answers, meaning
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